Raush Manfio is no longer under contract with the Professional Fighters League.
The 2021 PFL lightweight champion on Monday announced on social media that he is officially a free agent, a decision that comes more than four months after he went the distance in a highly criticized match with longtime friend and training partner Natan Schulte.
Manfio wrote in his native Portuguese: “I would like to announce that I’m no longer part of the PFL, but also thank [PFL] for all these years with the promotion. We came in from the front door and left with my head held high knowing it wasn’t the way we wanted to end this season, but the year isn’t over yet.”
Manfio and Schulte, the latter of whom is the godfather of Manfio’s daughter, were both criticized for not fighting aggressively when they met at PFL 6 in June. The promotion shortly afterward suspended both athletes from the season, and Shane Burgos advanced to the semifinals instead of Schulte.
In July, Manfio told MMA Fighting that “we clearly had bad performances,” but he added it wasn’t intentional. He revealed in that interview that he was under contract until December 2024.
“My biggest fear is that PFL says I’m suspended from the 2023 season, as they did, and then they text me in February of 2024 to inform they no longer want to work with me,” Manfio said in July, citing the deadline PFL had to part ways with him before the 2024 season kicks off. “The accusation that we fought below the standards is awful. If there were two guys that never met and fought badly, they wouldn’t have done that. You can see clearly that they used our stories as great friends to benefit another guy they were paying a lot of money, to put him ahead. It’s an opening they saw.”
A former champion in the PFL and Titan FC, Manfio is 17-5 in the sport with wins over the likes of Anthony Pettis and Clay Collard. The American Top Team lightweight leaves PFL with a company record of 6-2, having lost two of his past three.
“Where do you want to see me fighting now?” his wrote on his post Monday. “I can’t wait for this next step of my career. SuckerPunch [Entertainment’s Brian Butler] is my manager and he’s chasing fights for me this year. Thank you all for the love, I’ll update you soon.”
This story originally appeared on MMA fighting